Posted on December 8, 2016
Art for Change Discussion & Panel
December 8th, 7 – 9:30 pm
Asian American Arts Alliance, 20 Jay Street, Suite 740, Dumbo, Brooklyn 11201
In the wake of the last election, how can we, as artists and arts professionals, empower ourselves? API leaders from New York City arts organizations will discuss the changing political and social climate and what they think art has the power to do and can do in the coming months. This convening will create a space for the community to gather and collectively brainstorm how to harness artists’ power to change and mediate the discourse in society. The hour-long panel discussion will be followed by a facilitated breakout session with attendees and a share out.
Christine Toy Johnson
Rita Banerjee, Executive Director, Kundiman
Devin Oshiro, Artistic Associate, Gibney Dance
Kyoung Park, Artistic Director, Kyoung’s Pacific Beat
Jesca Prudencio, Associated Artist, Ping Chong + Company
Book Release: Rita Banerjee’s novella, “A Night with Kali,” in Approaching Footsteps now available in Print & on Kindle Books!
Posted on November 27, 2016
Rita Banerjee’s novella, “A Night with Kali,” in Approaching Footsteps, has just been released on Kindle Books and in print! In Rita Banerjee’s novella, A Night with Kali, two people from different classes, a taxi driver called Tamal-da and his well-to-do passenger meet under unusual circumstances. Stuck together in a flood in the middle of a monsoon hitting Kolkata, Tamal entertains his bored, out-of-town passenger by telling her the story of his life. As he explains how he ended up hustling the mean streets of Kolkata, how he abandoned his rural village, and why he left his family of fishers behind, Tamal spins a tale that is both mundane and fantastic. Built on the tradition of Bengali ghost stories, Tamal’s coming-of-age tale depends as much on the supernatural as on the possibility or impossibility of human connection. On Approaching Footsteps, the following reviewers write:
“Four novellas and a wealth of bonus flash fiction stories make Approaching Footsteps a collection that a reader can dip into anytime. Two novellas stand especially tall: A Night with Kali, by Rita Banerjee, begins with a taxi ride through Kolkata during a monsoon and soon develops into an entertaining story-in-a-story supernatural tale reminiscent of classic Indian literature. In 136 Auburn Lane, novelist Donna Hillevokes a mysterious Harlem boarding house in the 1930’s, where a down-and-outwoman has one final chance to rescue her pitiful existence.” -Gay Yellen, author of The Body Business and The Body NextDoor
“’A Night with Kali’” by Rita Banerjee was a pair of ghost stores-within stories-within a story, set in Kolkata and the surrounding villages. The voice was distinct but unobtrusive and created a cozy familiarity with the narrator. The setting was also particularly vivid, but never got bogged down in exposition – rather, well-placed details sprinkled throughout made me feel like I’d lived in the area all my life. This was my favorite of the four, partly because it was the most upbeat. That may sound strange for a ghost story, but it works.” – MJL
Posted on November 26, 2016
Emotion and Suspense in Theatre,
Poetry, and (Non)Fiction
Saturday December 3 * 10 am – 1 pm
Cambridge Center for Adult Education
42 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Plato argues that human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge. And before staging Kalidasa’s The Recognition of Śākuntalā, the director challenges his actress-lover: “As though in a painting, the entire audience has had their emotion colored through your melody. So now—what shall we perform to sustain the mood?” In this class, we will explore how creating vivid emotional worlds between characters and within storylines can build suspense, sustain drama, and lure the reader deeper in. If you’re currently working on a short story, novel, screenplay, theatrical play, lyrical essay, memoir, or narrative poem which has a unique emotional landscape, come stop by the CCAE for the next Cambridge Writers’ Workshop craft of writing seminar led by Rita Banerjee. To register, please sign up at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. Workshop Fee: $40. More info about the workshop series available at Cambridge Writers’ Workshop.
Posted on November 19, 2016
Kundiman is a literary arts nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation, cultivation, and promotion of Asian American Literature. On Saturday November 19, from 6-8 pm, Kundiman will be honoring critically claimed poet Kimiko Hahn and Penguin Classics editor Elda Rotor at the annual Kundiman Gala Benefit. The Gala Benefit will take place in Bateman Hall at the Fordham Law School at Lincoln Center. Join Kundiman for an elegant evening dedicated to supporting the next generation of Asian American writers. The Gala Benefit at Lincoln Center will include hors d’oeuvres, sake tasting, music and creative writing performances, and a silent auction. Festive attire is suggested! Fore more information on how to buy tickets or help support Kundiman, please visit here.
Posted on November 11, 2016
Many thanks to Mass Poetry for featuring Rita Banerjee’s poem, “Chicago Ode,” in their Poem of the Moment section. Mass Poetry supports poets and poetry in Massachusetts. Mass Poetry helps ro broaden the audience of poetry readers, brings poetry to readers of all ages and transform people’s lives through inspiring verse. A copy of the poem is included below, and you can read the full poem on Mass Poetry here.
You came quiet on
cat feet with
for minor names
aortal and stung—
off grids and arcs
bending like yellow,
red and unglued blue
You moved like
a river under
Boul Mich elevated
kept sails and lovers
lit on harbor.
like bodies lit
on grass, you stood
unlike concrete, too
contained in no
form, no limb
that would move
your eyes grew
catlike, calling to
locking lakes in land,
you asked time to
sneeze, hiccup, to not
speak at all—
asked to linger no
longer or to
stay longer like
cracklers at night,
the firework’s parched
breath & Ferris wheel
lights that held
like ships & whistles
* Read the poem on Mass Poetry here.
Rita Banerjee’s novella, “A Night with Kali,” in Approaching Footsteps now available for pre-order from Spider Road Press
Posted on October 25, 2016
Enjoy suspenseful tales with unexpected twists? In Approaching Footsteps, four compelling novellas by talented women will keep you guessing. Best-selling novelist Donna Hill spins a gripping tale of desperation and danger. Author Jennifer Leeper puts a unique spin on noir fiction. Writer and scholar Rita Banerjee blends a story of two unlikely allies trapped in a monsoon with a tale of murder and magic. Debut writer Megan Steusloff tells the story of an interracial couple and the deadly price that must be paid for freedom.Reader’s Bonus: Highlights from Spider Road Press’ recent flash fiction contests. Spider Road Press donates 5% of the proceeds from its titles to charities which address the issues of sexual assault, supporting American veterans, empowering youth and fighting hunger at home and abroad. Pre-order Approaching Footsteps from Spider Road Press here!
In Rita Banerjee’s novella, A Night with Kali, two people from different classes, a taxi driver called Tamal-da and his well-to-do passenger meet under unusual circumstances. Stuck together in a flood in the middle of a monsoon hitting Kolkata, Tamal entertains his bored, out-of-town passenger by telling her the story of his life. As he explains how he ended up hustling the mean streets of Kolkata, how he abandoned his rural village, and why he left his family of fishers behind, Tamal spins a tale that is both mundane and fantastic. Built on the tradition of Bengali ghost stories, Tamal’s coming-of-age tale depends as much on the supernatural as on the possibility or impossibility of human connection.
Posted on October 16, 2016
Rita Banerjee’s novella, A Night with Kali, will be published in Approaching Footsteps, an anthology of four suspenseful novellas by authors Donna Hill, Rita Banerjee, Jennifer Leeper, and Megan Streusloff. The anthology is edited by Patricia Flaherty Pagan of Spider Road Press, a feminist press based in Austin, TX which believes that books in America, Canada and the UK should reflect the diversity of these wonderful nations, and that all brave, intelligent writing is literary, no matter what the subject matter. Spider Road Press donates 5% of the proceeds from its titles to charities which address the issues of sexual assault, supporting American veterans, empowering youth and fighting hunger at home and abroad. If you would like to review a galley copy of Rita Banerjee’s A Night with Kali in Approaching Footsteps, please contact Spider Road Press at here. And here is a little bit about Rita Banerjee’s novella:
In A Night with Kali, two people from different classes, a taxi driver called Tamal-da and his well-to-do passenger meet under unusual circumstances. Stuck together in a flood in the middle of a monsoon hitting Kolkata, Tamal entertains his bored, out-of-town passenger by telling her the story of his life. As he explains how he ended up hustling the mean streets of Kolkata, how he abandoned his rural village, and why he left his family of fishers behind, Tamal spins a tale that is both mundane and fantastic. Built on the tradition of Bengali ghost stories, Tamal’s coming-of-age tale depends as much on the supernatural as on the possibility or impossibility of human connection.
Posted on October 16, 2016
Kundiman Reading at the 2016 Dodge Poetry Festival
feat. Hossannah Asuncion, Wo Chan, R.A. Villanueva, & Margaret Rhee
Moderated by Joseph O. Legaspi and Rita Banerjee
Saturday October 22, 2016 * 11:00 am – 12:10 pm
Aljira: A Center for Contemporary Art
591 Broad Street, Newark, NJ 07102
Hossannah Asuncion is a writer, organizer and educator who was raised near the 105 and 710 freeways in Los Angeles and currently lives near an A/C stop in Brooklyn. She is the author of Fragments of Loss (Chapbook, Poetry Society of America, 2010) and Object Permanence (Collection, Magic Helicopter Press, forthcoming 2016).
Wo Chan is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia’s Area Program for Poetry Writing where he received the Rachel St. Paul Poetry Award for his work. Wo was a finalist for the cream city review Poetry Contest and his poems appear in the journal. Wo is a Kundiman fellow and plans to pursue an MFA. He currently lives in Brooklyn, where he works as a makeup artist by day and performs with the drag alliance, Switch N’ Play by night.
Margaret Rhee is the author of chapbooks Yellow (Tinfish Press, 2011) and Radio Heart; or, How Robots Fall Out of Love (Finishing Line Press, 2015). She co-edited Glitter Tongue: queer and trans love poems and Mixed Blood, a literary journal on race and innovative poetics edited by CS Giscombe. She is a Kundiman Fellow and the Kathy Acker Fellow at Les Figues Press. In 2014, she received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in ethnic and new media studies. Currently, she teaches at UCLA and is a visiting assistant professor in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Oregon.
Posted on October 10, 2016
The Library of Congress Presents:
Asian American Literature Today – Kundiman Spotlight
Wednesday, October 12, 2016 * 6:30pm 8:30pm
Poets Janine Joseph and Aimee Nezhukumatathil read and discuss their work with Kundiman Advisory Board Co-Chair Jennifer Chang. Presented in partnership with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center; The Asian American Literary Review; and the Asian American Studies Program, University of Maryland.
Janine Joseph was born and raised in the Philippines and Southern California. She is the author of Driving without a License (Alice James Books, 2016), winner of the 2014 Kundiman Poetry Prize. Currently, she lives in Stillwater, OK, where she is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Oklahoma State University. Her poems and essays about growing up undocumented in America have appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Zócalo Public Square, The Journal, The Asian American Literary Review, The Collagist, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, Waxwing, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, and elsewhere.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil is Professor of English at State University of New York-Fredonia, where she teaches creative writing and environmental literature. Recent honors include a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pushcart Prize. She is the author of the forthcoming book of illustrated nature essays, WORLD OF WONDER (2018, Milkweed Editions), and three poetry collections: LUCKY FISH (2011), AT THE DRIVE-IN VOLCANO (2007), and MIRACLE FRUIT (2003)–all from Tupelo Press. Her most recent chapbook is LACE & PYRITE, a collaboration of nature poems with the poet Ross Gay.
Posted on September 28, 2016
Join the show at the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s Literary Vaudeville! The evening will feature tantalizing performances from writers Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Megan Fernandes, Claire Ince, Emily Smith, Christina M. Rau, and Frederick-Douglass Knowles II. Enjoy the dexterity of our word-artists and their poetic & prose literary feats!
Rita Banerjee is the Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and the new Executive Director of Kundiman. She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and her writing appears in The Rumpus, Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere. Her first collection of poems, Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press), received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book of 2011-2012 at the Los Angeles Book Festival, and her novella, A Night with Kali (Spider Road Press), is forthcoming in October 2016. Finalist for the 2015 Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award and the 2016 Aquarius Press Willow Books Literature Award, she is currently working on a novel and book of lyric essays.
Diana Norma Szokolyai is a writer and Executive Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. She is author of the poetry collections Parallel Sparrows (honorable mention for Best Poetry Book in the 2014 Paris Book Festival) and Roses in the Snow (first runner-up Best Poetry Book at the 2009 DIY Book Festival). She also records her poetry with musicians and has collaborated with several composers. Her poetry-music collaboration with Flux Without Pause led to their collaboration “Space Mothlight” hitting #16 on the Creative Commons Hot 100 list in 2015, and can be found in the curated WFMU Free Music Archive. Szokolyai’s work has been recently reviewed by The London Grip and published in Quail Bell Magazine, Lyre Lyre, The Fiction Project, The Boston Globe, Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure, The Dudley Review and Up the Staircase Quarterly, as well as anthologized in The Highwaymen NYC #2, Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History, Always Wondering and Teachers as Writers. Szokolyai earned her Ed.M. in Arts in Education from Harvard University and her M.A. in French Literature from the University of Connecticut, while she completed coursework at the Sorbonne and research on Romani writers in Paris. She is currently at work on three books and recording an album of poetry & music.
Emily Smith is a Managing Editing and Communications Intern for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. She is a Contributing Blogger for Ploughshares and holds a B.F.A. in Creative Writing from New Hampshire Institute of Art. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Rumpus, Brooklyn Magazine, Refinery 29, Bustle, Brevity, Luna Luna and others.
Megan Fernandes is an Assistant Professor of English at Lafayette College and teaches courses on poetry, feminist theory, and science and technology studies. She holds a PhD in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MFA in poetry from Boston University. She is the author of The Kingdom and After (Tightrope Books 2015), the poetry editor of the anthology Strangers in Paris (Tightrope Books 2011), and the author of two poetry chapbooks: Organ Speech (Corrupt Press) and Some Citrus Makes Me Blue (Dancing Girl Press). Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the Boston Review, Rattle, The Adroit Journal, Pank Magazine, The Walrus Magazine, Postmodern Culture, Guernica, Memorious, the Academy of American Poets, Redivider, the California Journal of Poetics, among others.
Claire Ince is the writer-producer of the movie musical Bazodee. An MFA graduate of New York University’s Dramatic Writing Program, Tisch School of the Arts, Claire previously produced the reality adventure show Run’bout for AT&T/Cingular Wireless Caribbean and the children’s TV pilot The Baobab Tree (a selection of the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival.) Claire won best screenplay for Bazodee (formerly known as Scandalous!) at the Bahamas International Film Festival’s Film Residency Program in 2008. She is also an alumna of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring 2015 in Newport, RI Writing Retreat.
Christina M. Rau is the author of the poetry collection Liberating The Astronauts (forthcoming, 2017), and the poetry chapbooks WakeBreatheMove (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and For The Girls, I (Dancing Girl Press, 2014). Founder of the Long Island reading circuit Poets In Nassau, her poetry has appeared on gallery walls in The Ekphrastic Poster Show, on car magnets for The Living Poetry Project, most recently in the journals Flapperhouse and Golden Walkman Magazine. She edits The Nassau Review at Nassau Community College where she teaches English full time. In her non-writing life, she practices yoga occasionally and line dances on other occasions. She is also an alumna of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring 2015 in Newport, RI Writing Retreat.
Frederick-Douglass Knowles II (Yesod) is a Poet-Educator-Activist involved in Community Education and the Performing Arts. He has competed on three National Poetry Slam Teams (2x Connecticut and Brooklyn, NY). His works have featured in the Martin Luther King Jr. Anthology by Yale University Press, East Haddam Stage Company of Connecticut, The 13th Annual Acacia Group Conference at California State University, Folio– a Southern Connecticut State University literary magazine, Lefoko—a Botswana (Southern Africa) Hip-Hop magazine and Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: AIDS Anthology by Third World Press. Frederick-Douglass is currently an English Professor at Three Rivers Community College where he infuses English Composition with social injustices, such as AIDS, Poverty and War. His debut collection of autobiographical poetry, Black Rose City, was currently released by Author House.